Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Sun and gloom

I've been in Mexico for the last week on vacation with my family. (sigh) Vacation is a wonderful thing. We ate, we played, I read two books. No cleaning, no cooking, no dishes.

The only downer while we were there was that the mild case of poison oak on my arm I had gotten the week before flared up into a crusty, swollen, oozing mess. It was really gross and I ended up seeing the resort Dr. who looked horrified at the sight of it. I doubt he'd ever seen a case of poison oak before, but thank the lord he was able to treat it.

Aside from that it was a great trip. It was hard to leave.

We came home to cold and rain and responsibility and some heartbreaking news. The real world sucks sometimes.

Nothing to do, though, but plug on.

I'm still writing. While in Mexico, I wrote in my notebook. I prefer to write on the computer, because I can go faster, I don't have to look at my terrible handwriting, and my hand doesn't get all crampy. So I'm always surprised with how pleasurable it can be to write by hand. It's more intimate, somehow. I have an easier time letting go of my need to do things perfectly, since it's so much harder to make changes and edits. Consequently, I think the writing is better since I'm not as stressed.

On the eating/exercise front I'm in sugar detox mode and it's hard. I ate well on vacation (or horribly, I guess, depending on your perspective). I planned it that way. Decided I was going to enjoy my vacation and all that food I didn't have to cook! So I don't feel guilty or like I cheated. But boy these first few days of clean eating after consuming all that sugar and fat are tough. I know it will get easier soon, and I'm holding on to that (and free day which is Sunday!). I'm hoping to get back to my pre-vacation bodyfat percentage in two weeks.

I'm going to do a lot of writing today. The rush I wrote about last week is still in full force, and I'm trying to take advantage of it.

It's gloomy here now both literally and figuratively, and I am sad. But life goes on and I'm not giving up on my goals.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Getting caught up in the story

First of all I want to thank parttimemom and wyo for their great comments on my Roller Coasting entry. If this novel isn't universally adored (as if), or even published that doesn't mean my dream is dead. I can always try again. And I didn't start writing it with the goal of publication, anyway. I started the novel because I love getting completely immersed in a story. But that experience has always been as a reader. I wanted to see if I could get swept away by a story that I created myself.

Which brings me to wyo's point of enjoying the process. She is so right. The end result is only a tiny part of any goal. It's what you had to do to get to that point that is really important. And maybe one of the reasons I've been so frustrated lately, is that I haven't been enjoying the process as much as I did in the beginning. I was so caught up in fear and self-doubt and the pressure to be "good" that I couldn't get to that place where the story picks up and carries me along. I was trying to force it. Not nearly as enjoyable.

I started a new section the day before yesterday and it felt SO great. I'm getting to a really exciting part of the story and it's a kick (as my dad would say) seeing/creating what's going to come next. I'm back with some really interesting characters too. They are no one I'd like to know, but they are so much fun to write about. I can't believe some of the stuff that comes out of their mouths!

The story is carrying me along again and it's such a rush!

Thursday, November 17, 2005

I'm up!

Last night's writing session went surprisingly well. I finished another section/scene!


Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Roller coasting

I wrote for an hour yesterday and it felt great! I didn't have that nervous, self-doubting phase to overcome. I just jumped right in and got to it.

I wish it could always be like that.

Today I struggled the whole time and never was able to shut-up that nasty critical inner voice. I never got into a rhythm, and had to force myself to keep at it.

I worry that I've put too much pressure on myself, setting this 6-month goal. After all, there's no real reason why it has to be done in 6 months. I guess I'm just afraid that if I don't give myself a concrete deadline, I'll never finish. I've noticed that the closer I get to the finish line, the slower my day-to-day progress. Almost like I'm scared to finish.

Actually, I know I am scared to finish. Once it's done then I have to put it out there, and it might not be any good.


I try to tell myself that it doesn't have to be "good". If I get it to a point where I like it, it doesn't matter what other people think. It doesn't matter if it never gets published. But in the back of my mind I really want to succeed with this. I want to be published. I want my "job" to be Novelist.

It is terrifying going after your dreams, because if you try and then fail, then you have to give up on them. But of course dreams have no chance of coming true if you don't try. I am trying. It's just scary.

I'm going to write some more tonight. Maybe it'll go better. I've experienced this writing roller coaster before. You're up then you're down, and there's no way to predict those highs and lows ahead of time. You just have to hold on tight and ride them out.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005


I did it, but being me I'm not feeling 100% positive about it. The reason? I was a complete stress case! The afternoon was SO rushed. It was really hard getting everything done so that I had the rest time free to write. I hope I wasn't too crazed with the kids.

But it got done. I guess that's good.

Monday, November 14, 2005

"Rest" time?

I did go running. But I only wrote for maybe 10 minutes. I guess it's better than nothing, but it's not enough if I want to get this thing done by May 9.

I really think the key is rest time. We skipped it again yesterday. I have to get both the kids and myself back in the rest time habit. That way I will have a block of time every day. Rest time has turned into a big pain lately, though. It's certainly not very "restful". Lots of chaos before, during and after. Before, there's the whining and complaining stage. It takes maybe 10 minutes just to maneuver them back to their rooms. During, they are calling me to bring them various vital items or to find out when rest time is over. (This is usually Kyle, who can't tell time very well yet.) They also yell back and forth to each other. They always want to "rest" together. But when they are together, they don't rest at all! And afterwards, their rooms are torn to shreds--toys everywhere! So rest time has seemed a lot more trouble than it's worth. But if I'm firm about it, we can probably get it back to the point where it is restful for everyone and worthwhile for me.

I'll try to get it together today. It will be a good test day because we're meeting my sister and niece at the mall this afternoon at 4:30, so I won't have a lot of time to dawdle after school. Snack then straight to rest time. We will do it!

Sunday, November 13, 2005


Like the picture? That's me running in a 10k this past August. It doesn't really have anything to do with what I was planning to write today, but I'm trying to add it to my profile, and I think I have to post in in a entry first.

Anyway, I did not work on my novel yesterday. The reason is typical and boring. I couldn't find the time. I did go to the gym in the morning and did my UBWO (upper body work out), so that's good. But we needed to go shopping for a birthday present in the afternoon, and during rest time I had to tidy up for the babysitter. (Scott and I went to a fundraiser for Kyle's preschool last night.) Typical! The hyper-critical part of my personality tells me that I should have been able to squeeze it in somehow. For example, had the house already been tidy, I would have had rest time free. But it wasn't. So I didn't.

I hope I get to it today, but it's another busy one: birthday party, maintenance day at the preschool, regular life. I usually take a long run on Sunday mornings, but maybe I should write instead. Here's an example of that trade off. I can exercise OR write, but probably not both.


Somehow, I'll make this work.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

I did it!

Both! I wrote and exercised. I think this blog-idea might have been just what I needed to get on track.

Oh, and I've been thinking about my comment yesterday that I spend a chunk of time taking care of the house. I don't want to give the wrong impression: I'm an atrocious housekeeper. But even though you wouldn't want to eat off my floors, I still do a fair amount of house-related tasks. Grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning up from cooking, laundry, etc.--it all takes up time. But June Cleaver, I'm not!

Friday, November 11, 2005

Let's focus on the positive!

I wrote yesterday! Poor Kyle was still pretty tired from being sick the night before, so I wrote for a while as he rested. It felt great...eventually. I guess my third blog entry is the best time to document that I am a complete freak when it comes to self-confidence and writing. Ironically, I'm a pretty confident person about the rest of my life, but for some reason I constantly doubt myself and my ability when I'm writing. So it usually takes me a few minutes of forcing myself to keep at it, trying to ignore that pesky critical inner voice (as Stuart Smalley would say) which is telling me I suck and I'm wasting my time because I'll never be able to write well.

If I can push through those initial painful minutes, however, I usually get absorbed with the story and the challenge of manipulating the words so that they communicate what I can see in my head. It's like a puzzle--trying to put it all together. Of course it's a puzzle with lots of extra unnecessary pieces that I have to identify and weed out and there are always tons of missing pieces that I have to try to find. I enjoy the process of figuring out how to make it work, though. It's really satisfying. But, boy, is it tough at the beginning. Every time.

But I did make some progress with the novel. Yay! Unfortunately I also missed my LBWO (lower body work out). I didn't want to take Kyle to the gym child care since he'd been sick, and I ran out of time to do it at home. I think it's going to be a big challenge to get in both exercise and writing every day. Most of my time is spent taking care of the kids and the house. I really have to focus and plan and organize to fit the other stuff in. I was able to write regularly before I started exercising every day. But once I made the commitment to get healthy and make exercise a priority, the writing kind of fell by the wayside.

Now I want to do both. They are both SO good for me.

I don't want to give up either one.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Reality Check--This isn't going to be easy.

Wasn't it a great plan? I'd start a blog to help myself make a commitment to finish my novel in 6 months. The blog would hold me accountable, and so I'd write every day!


It's going to take more than that.

I didn't write yesterday. First of all, there wasn't a rest time. Kara had a hair appointment at 3:30, we didn't get back until almost 5. And for a variety of reasons that I don't want to go into right now, rest time doesn't really work past 4:15. So, I wasn't able to write at rest time as I so bravely planned (and posted here).

To appease my guilty conscience, I told myself I'd write after the kids were in bed. But instead, I found myself on the internet looking at hair style sites so that I can find a new cut that will work with my "heart" shaped face. (As a side note, there are also web sites that help you determine your face shape and the cuts that work well with them. And "heart" shaped face sounds much better than what it really describes--a wide forehead and a pointy chin!)

Then I spent way too much time reading Miss Snark's blog. She's supposedly a literary agent who anonymously shares the realities of the publishing world with author hopefuls like myself. There's some good information there, but agent tips aren't what I need to focus on right now. I've got to finish the damn book first! And reading her blog, while certainly entertaining, probably wasn't the best use of my limited time.

Finally around 11, I decided that I wouldn't be writing that evening after all. I berated myself for wasting what could have been a productive evening, then half-heartedly promised to get up early this morning and write. I also reminded myself that today Kyle would be in preschool and I'd have a two kid-free hours when I could get lots written. So feeling marginally better, I headed back to the kids' rooms to check on them before going to bed. And found Kyle sound asleep, both he and his bed covered in puke.

I won't go into detail about the state of Kyle and his bed, but let me just say it was one of those messes where I had no idea where to start. Yuck! And the poor little guy was still really sick, dry heaving in his sleep and looking thoroughly miserable. But I'm the mom, so there was no option but to breathe through my mouth and take care of it. (Scott was out of town. Although to be brutally honest, this kind of situation is one that would fall to me even if he were home.)

It was after one when I finally got to sleep. So much for getting up early to write. Preschool won't be happening today either. According to the school handbook, they don't want children to attend when they've puked their brains out the night before. Go figure.

I REALLY want to write today, but I'm not making any promises this time. Real life, and my own procrastinative (Is that a word? It should be.) tendencies have a way of derailing the best laid plan. I do need to figure out some kind of system for getting regular writing time. Because...

I'm going to finish this book. In six months. I am! I am!

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

6 months to go

Today I will write for an hour at rest time.